The Burke Approach

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When he spoke to the Marketing academy on December 6, Alex Mangoff, a Senior Analyst at the top-rated Cincinnati-based market research firm Burke, Inc., introduced his firm’s unique approach toward helping clients design effective Voice of Customer (VOC) programs. In a business world where customer retention is a driving theme, many companies face the problem of having too much data they don’t know how to use. To address this, Burke helps clients make better use of data to better understand and serve their customers. The Burke approach to scoping a client’s situation vis-à-vis its customers includes three steps: blueprinting, VOC architectural assessment, and linkage assessment.

Blueprinting: The fundamental question blueprinting asks is: who are the stakeholders? This phase normally involves a meeting with company leaders and its goals are to uncover the client’s key financial objectives, how its customers generate income, and what activities impact customer’s experiences. The key takeaway of this step is to link desired financial results and operational measures via perceptions and behavior.

VOC Architectural Assessment: This step asks the question “what’s being done?” and has three components: reviewing program objectives, reviewing and analyzing measurement materials, conducting a workshop with organizational stakeholders, and documenting and presenting findings and recommendations. In addition to defining who the customers are, how the company is structured, and what key business metric the company is trying to influence, these steps seek to determine how complete, effective and aligned a company’s current VOC program is, and to uncover unmet needs, ensure all voices are heard, and build support for the revised program. At the end, a summary of the current VOC program and suggestions for a future program are given.

Linkage Assessment: This step seeks to answer the question “How ready are they?” and links survey results with financials, and can be considered a crucial step in convincing C-level executive of the research and to make the case for a revised VOC program. It is data heavy, and involves a “hunt” for necessary data pertinent to the project, namely, locating sources of relevant data, determining whether sources can be connected and data can be accessed, and deciding which types of analyses to perform.

In addition to sharing Burke’s approach to serving clients, Alex also shared its philosophy of education – that it doesn’t stop at graduation, but is an ongoing process. The Burke Institute, an in-house organization where employees at all levels can receive training from experts in various analytical disciplines, attests to this philosophy. Taking all of this together, it’s no surprise that Burke has been around since 1931.

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